This year, the Championship has attracted an unprecedented number of applications. Over 176,000 football fans have already applied for the job, with nearly one third of them coming from abroad — from 190 countries to be exact.
On this occasion, Pushkin State Russian Language Institute launched an educational online course to help foreign volunteers learn Russian.
The guests of the meeting —"young, cheerful and funny" as they were described by the institute's rector of Margarita Rusetskaya — shared their personal stories and revealed reasons behind their desire to become volunteers.
All participants came to Russia with their own stories. Among applicants were a Spaniard, who has always been interested in the Russian culture and has a beautiful Russian wife; a Frenchman who studied Russian at school; and a Peruvian who fell in love with Russian after he saw cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on TV.
Each candidate has various reasons behind their desire to join the World Cup 2018 team. Some of them want to meet new friends, others, to learn more about Russian culture or visit l Red Square to learn "what color it really is."
The meeting was also attended by well-known Russian actor and comedian Sergey Belogolovtsev, who joined the team of the World Cup 2018 ambassadors.
During the meeting, the actor told his personal story of being a volunteer at the World Cup in Portugal. For him the trip became a valuable experience that he will remember for all his life.
"Unfortunately, the title of an ambassador doesn't allow you to attend all the matches of the World Cup. I was like, well, now I become an ambassador and will be able to watch all the games…but…nothing of the kind," the actor said jokingly, commenting on his new role as ambassador. "However, I am very happy and proud of this title. I was as happy as a child when I was asked to be a part of the team. Such things happen only once in a lifetime."
The Pushkin Institute of Russian language is one of the main centers for Russian as a foreign language. Among its students and graduates are politicians, businessmen, culture experts and others.
The course for the volunteers was launched on online portal Pushkininstitute.ru on February 10. With this program, candidates from any country will be able to learn their first words in Russian and improve their communication skills before they enter the country as the part of the World Cup team.